Revised Red Tractor standards come into effect this week

Red Tractor’s updated farm standards came into effect from the start of this week (November 1) and the assurance scheme has reminded farmers they need to make sure they comply with all revisions from this date.

Some of the key changes include:

  • Tail biting: Measures to minimise the risk of tail biting and avoid the need for tail docking need to be in place. This includes an annual risk assessment on all units and an action plan on farms rearing docked pigs.
  • Medicines training: At least one person who is responsible for overseeing use of medicines on a unit needs to be trained on responsible medicines use.
  • Welfare training: a new standard means that anyone involved in the care of pigs needs to have completed all available mandatory training modules on the UK Pig Industry Training platform. The first module focuses on moving and handling of pigs. Once launched, all staff involved in the care of pigs have up to three months to complete the training. You will be able to access this on the AHDB website.
  • Nest building: A requirement for nest-building material to be provided for all sows, regardless of flooring type, in the 24-hour period prior to farrowing.
  • Health and safety policy: Farms with workers will need to have a written Health and Safety policy. Find free support on the Health and Safety Executive’s website, including a template and worked example.
  • Disease control: Members must now sign up to the Significant Diseases Charter and report any outbreaks of PEDv or swine dysentery.

For helpful resources, including a narrated presentation explaining what’s changed and why, a checklist of all the changes and digital copy of the full standards manual, go to: Go to

Stewart Houston, Red Tractor Pigs Sector Board chair, said: “Keeping pace with shifting consumer expectations, evolving retailer demands and the latest best practice is paramount. Balancing all this with the needs of farmers is always a tall order.

“These revised farm standards are necessary not only to drive our industry forward, but in this time of heightened public scrutiny they also serve to help protect the reputation of both individual farms and the entire British pig industry.

“The Red Tractor team is mindful that members are currently dealing with extreme supply chain challenges. We will be taking a pragmatic approach towards non-conformances which are a result of these pressures, but I’d encourage you to make every effort to meet these revised farm standards from the start of November.”

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.